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Position Statements

Desexing Position Statement

The Dog and Cat Management Board (the Board) supports the desexing of companion cats. Research indicates1 that desexing brings a number of benefits for cats, cat owners, and the community. Desexed cats are better behaved which creates a strong bond between the cat and owner. Desexing improves cat temperament and reduces nuisance behaviour, such as spraying, vocalising, and wandering. Desexing companion cats leads to a reduced number of unwanted kittens in the community. Cats have the potential to become pregnant from 5 months of age. Therefore they need to be desexed or confined effectively (in a cat enclosure or kept indoors) to avoid unwanted pregnancy. Desexing cats reduces the number of unwanted litters from owned cats, many of which end up admitted to shelters and euthanised. Desexed cats have an increased life expectancy and improved health, with a reduced risk of certain cancers.

The Board recommends that all companion cats are desexed or if un-desexed, are confined effectively to avoid unwanted litters. In any desexing arrangements, exemptions should be made e.g. for breeding stock, show cats, and where desexing presents a health risk determined by a veterinarian. The Board will continue to actively promote desexing as a key aspect of responsible cat ownership and educate the community to increase the number of desexed cats in South Australia.

1 Denny, E & Dickman C (2010). Review of Cat Ecology and Management Strategies in Australia. A report for the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre.

Stubbs, W. P., & Bloomberg, M. S. (1995, February). Implications of early neutering in the dog and cat. In Seminars in veterinary medicine and surgery (small animal) (Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 8-12).

Microchipping Position Statement

The Dog and Cat Management Board (the Board) supports mandatory microchipping of companion dogs and cats. Microchipping is the most effective form of permanent identification which imparts accountability on owners and breeders and assists the recovery of pets should they become lost or injured.

The Board will continue to promote the use of microchips in permanently identifying dogs and cats and the importance of keeping details current in an accredited registry.

Management of Feral Cats Position Statement

The Dog and Cat Management Board (the Board) recognises the importance of managing feral cats to reduce the threat they pose to native wildlife and to minimise the number of homeless cats which suffer starvation, disease and injury living in the wild. The Board supports the management of feral cat colonies in remote areas, provided it is done in the most humane manner practicable and that the methods used do not pose risks to the health and safety of domestic cats or other species.

Responsible cat ownership is central to reducing the impact domestic cats have on wildlife and ensuring pets do not contribute to the feral cat population. Any cat may transition from being a domestic pet to a stray cat to a feral cat.

The Board encourages cat owners to:

  • Desex their pets; removing the chance of breeding with unowned and semi-owned cats, and having unwanted litters which contribute to the population of unowned and feral cats.
  • Microchip and identify their pet with a collar and tag; increasing the likelihood that a lost cat will be returned to its owner.
  • Keep them confined to your property, a cat enclosure or indoors; keeping them safe, minimising the threat domestic pets pose to native wildlife through their hunting behaviour, and reducing the risk they’ll become lost and enter the feral cat population.